Born in 1933, graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Jacques Julliard is an expert in contemporary history, whose works concern the workers’ movement and the history of political cultures in France since the Revolution. He spent the majority of his career as directeur d’études at the Ecole des Hautes études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), close to the Ecole des Annales (Fernand Braudel, Georges Duby, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie…) He was a Foreign Member of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton in 1980-81. Parallel to his academic endeavors, for the last thirty years Jacques Julliard has been pursuing a career as journalist for the left-of-center liberal weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, of which he is currently Executive Director and a weekly columnist. Active on the French political scene, he was nominated a member of the trade union Confédération Française et Démocratique du Travail (CFDT) as well as administrator of the NGO « Action contre la Faim. » (Action against hunger)
He is the author of numerous works, among which Naissance et mort de la Quatrième République (1968), Fernand Pelloutier et les origines du syndicalisme d’action directe (1971) ; « Le Monde » d’Hubert Beuve-Méry (1979) in collaboration with Jean-Noël Jeanneney, Autonomie ouvrière (1988), La République du Centre (1988) in collaboration with François Furet and Pierre Rosanvallon, Dictionnaire des Intellectuels français (1996) in collaboration with Michel Winock, La Faute aux élites (1997), and La Mort du roi (direction ) (1999). He also directs the intellectual history journal Mil neuf cent.



Among the great nations of the Western world, the United States and France are the only ones to have never fought each other in war. In all the crucial moments of their histories, they can be found side by side. And yet, relations between the two are difficult, as evidenced by the support long provided by the United States for the Vichy government and the mutual antipathy of Roosevelt and De Gaulle (1940-45); France’s withdrawal from the military organization of NATO (1966); and the threat of a French veto against American intervention in Iraq (2003). Against the backdrop of an alliance that is more than two hundred years old, there is recurrent Anti-Americanism on the part of the French and Francophobia on the American side. Why? Beyond this observation and analysis lies the issue of French policy within a united Europe and of the relations between that Europe and the United States. There are two opposing conceptions : that of the United Kingdom, which is transatlantic, and that of France, which is Euro-independent. Europe and the United States were formed from a common history and share the same political, religious, and cultural values. But they do not imagine the future in the same fashion. Are we moving towards a historical divorce, or will the dangers that are menacing them ultimately bring the two states back together?


The political division between left and right is considered to have been invented by France during the Revolution of 1789, and to have since served as the model for numerous countries within and without Europe. Things are not quite so simple: any deliberating assembly has a natural tendency to divide into two rivaling factions, settling at the opposite poles of conservation and of progress. The question at hand is whether the notions of left and right, such as they are currently understood in France and in many countries, make up a simple illustration of this virtually mechanical division of opinion or if, rather, history and culture have conferred upon these notions a particular coloration, that is sometimes qualified as the “French exception.” Moreover, these two notions are not homogenous. Within the French left alone, upon which Jacques Julliard is currently working, there are four distinguishable currents: libéralisme (market economics), jacobinism, collectivism, and libertarian anarchism.
Left and right are two notions that owe much to their history and which are consequently full of particularly strong and tenacious connotations. But is their richness not perhaps running out, are not perhaps the problems of the contemporary world (ecology, evolution of mores, “clash of civilizations”) of a completely different nature, which is radically rendering obsolete the oppositions of the past, in order to inspire new ones?